Union Education and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today chaired a high- level review meeting focussing on mental wellness of students and zero tolerance towards discrimination in educational institutions across the country. Minister of State for Education Subhas Sarkar and senior officials from school and higher education department, CBSE, AICTE, UGC attended the meeting.
In the meeting Pradhan asked the senior officials to put in place an effective grievance redressal system with shared responsibility. The Minister has also asked to invite suggestions from all the stakeholders through online medium. He touched upon various subjects such as gender equality, caste sensitivity, easing the academic pressure, robust system of counseling, etc. He said that Ministry of Education is committed to ensure physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of the students.
Ministry of Education has undertaken various steps from time to time to ease the academic stress. These include peer assisted learning, introduction of technical education in 13 regional languages, entrance examination in 13 languages, Manodarpan initiative to provide psychological support to students, guidelines on prevention, detection and remedial measures for mental health related issues, etc
Academic life is a critical phase of psychological and behavioural changes for the students involving complex patterns of social interactions, relationships and career trajectories. The issues that may affect the mental health of the students are varied and cover a wide spectrum ranging from academic pressure, peer pressure, intensely competitive educational environment, behavioural issues, performance issues, stress, career concerns, depression etc.
As per the directions of the Minister and to further safeguard the mental and emotional wellbeing of the students, the Ministry is preparing a comprehensive framework of operational guidelines, covering holistically from school to Higher Education Institutions.
The Framework will institutionalize safeguards and mechanisms that can ensure comprehensive protection to students from any threat or assault- physical, social, discriminatory, cultural, and linguistic; causing psychological distress leading to self-harming/self-destructive tendencies among students.
It will include the creation of inclusive, integrative and non-discriminatory environment; sensitization and capacity building programs for faculty members; orientation, counseling and hand holding mechanisms; early detection mechanisms for immediate intervention; promoting close-knit student faculty interactive communities; incorporating team activities within the curricular exercises; effective and speedy grievance redress mechanism; physical fitness provisions and programmes, emphasis on nutrition; personal involvement and monitoring by the Heads of the Institutions, faculty and parents, etc